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How Clemson is balancing preparing for a football game and a hurricane

Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney previews Georgia Southern

Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney on Texas A&M, Georgia Southern
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Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney on Texas A&M, Georgia Southern

Clemson’s football team isn’t focused solely on Georgia Southern this week, and for good reason.

As the Tigers are preparing for Georgia Southern’s triple option offense, they also have an eye on what is happening in the Atlantic as Hurricane Florence draws closer.

The majority of Clemson’s roster is from states on the Atlantic coast, and several players have family members that could be affected.

“We talked about it yesterday, kind of went around the room, who could be impacted and make sure they all know that we’re here to help. That there’s some things that we can do if people have to be evacuated and so forth,” Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said. “I don’t know what the weather’s gonna be. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the people who are in the path of this monster and my prayers that the good Lord will just do something to turn it, sit it down, whatever. And that we won’t have to deal with the type of devastation that it appears is coming for a lot of people.”

The NCAA does allow schools to help immediate family members that are forced to evacuate.

Last year Trayvon Mullen’s family came and stayed at Clemson during Hurricane Irma. Mullen’s family is from Florida.

“Trayvon’s family came up and I think they were actually able to stay with Brent (Venables) last year. So that’s really good that you have the opportunity to help in those situations,” Swinney said. “We were able to help just making sure that they know the resources that are available to them and to communicate with us on what their needs are. So that’s the biggest thing, just communicating and making sure they know.”

No changes have been announced yet for Saturday’s game and Clemson released a statement saying that “We are monitoring the situation and will communicate any updates as needed.”

In the meantime, Clemson players and coaches are practicing and going through meetings while also checking in with family members.

“For me I’m from Charleston, and for a long time that’s where the storm was headed. I’ve got family down there, and so obviously that’s something that’s in the back of your mind. From a preparation standpoint in terms of the weather we’ll worry about that when they tell us we need to worry about that,” co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. “Obviously we’re going to go put the best plan together. But you’ve got to be sensitive to those guys that may have family members back home because at the end of the day they’re people first. A lot of times we make them out to be gladiators because of what they do on the field, but they’re people first. And I think that’s what coach Swinney has done an unbelievable job with this program is making sure that everybody is mindful with that.”

Follow more of our reporting on Hurricane Florence

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